Parts of the Sewing Machine


Many machines have similar parts and pieces; please refer to your machines manual.

  • Bobbins – Bobbins are the round plastic or metal pieces that fit into the bobbin case of your machines.  They provide the thread for the underside of the machine stitch.  NOTE:  The majority of machine bobbins are not interchangeable.
    • All machine manufacturers have specific bobbins available for their product… there can be differences in the thickness of them as well as some may be more curved etc.
  • Bobbin Case – This is the part of the machine that houses the bobbin; there are generally 2 different types of bobbin cases.
    • Top loading bobbin case – means it is located just under the needle and you “drop” your bobbin into this piece.
    • Front loading bobbin case – meaning it is easily removed from the front area of your machine and your bobbin is placed into this piece.
  • Bobbin Winder – Bobbin winders may be different from on machine to another, however the principle is still the same.  It is the mechanism located on the top, front or end of your sewing machine and it fills your bobbin with thread.
  • Feed Dogs – These are the ridged metal pieces in the area of your needle plate.  They move the fabric forward as you guide the stitching.  It is good practice not to push or pull your fabric while the machine is stitching or you risk bending or breaking needles.
  • Foot Control – This is the large pedal set on the floor to which you step on to start your machine stitching.
  • Hand Wheel - The wheel on the upper right side of the machine that can be turned by hand to adjust the height of the needle.  Note: Always turn the hand wheel towards you.
  • Needle Bar/Needle Clamp - The piece that holds the needle.
  • Needle Plate/Throat Plate – Two names of a similar part!  Essentially, the needle plate protects the bobbin area on the underside of the machine.  It has seam guides for your sewing and can be changed for different stitching jobs.
  • Presser Foot - The presser foot is the piece below the needle to help hold your fabric in place as you stitch.  There are many different types of presser feet depending upon the application.
  • Slide Plate - The cover that provides access to the bobbin area.  Many will simply slide out of the way and some have a button or lever to release.
  • Spool Holder - The spool holder is the first step to getting your thread onto the machine; it is the long vertical or horizontal spindle that holds the top spool of thread.
  • Spool Caps – These are disks of varying sizes the slide onto the spool holders to keep you thread on the spool holder.
  • Stitch Length Regulator/Selector – This may be a dial, lever or button that allows you to adjust the “front to back” length of your machine stitches.
  • Stitch Width Regulator/Selector - This may be a dial, lever or button that allows you to adjust the “left to right” distance of your machine stitches.
  • Take-up Lever – This is part of your upper threading path. It moves up and down as you sew and helps to control the flow of thread.
  • Tension Disks – These are disks that control the amount of pressure applied to the upper thread for an even feed to the needle.
  • Tension Dial (Adjuster) – This allows adjustment of the upper thread tension.  This may also be an electronic adjustment on many of the new machines; check your machine manual.
  • Thread Cutter – This is generally located behind the needle area and to the left side of your machine.  It allows you to pull the thread up from the needle area and cut in one motion as there is a small blade hidden inside.
  • Thread Guides – Various parts of the upper threading sequence to direct the upper thread through the machine and down to the needle.